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Ring Ratings Update: New Ring lightweight champ Teofimo Lopez enters P4P rankings

Teofimo is the man at 135 pounds and now considered one of the 10 best boxers, pound for pound, by Ring Magazine.
22
Oct

Teofimo Lopez’s unanimous decision over Vasiliy Lomachenko on Saturday left no doubt as to who is the best lightweight in the world. It’s Lopez, who outpointed the three-division titleholder by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 119-109, unified the IBF, WBA, WBO and WBC (Franchise) belts, as well as the coveted Ring Magazine championship.

THE MAN at 135 pounds is just 23 years old. There’s no question that Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) has superstar potential that could span several years and more than two divisions. The only subject to debate was where the young gun would land in the mythical pound-for-pound rankings on the heels of his major upset, and you better believe the Ring Ratings Panel went back and forth on this subject (in part because some members wanted to drop Lomachenko from the top 10).

Because the debate was sooooooooooooooooooo long, I’m going to post the updated ratings at top of this article.

RING RATINGS UPDATE:

Pound for pound – Teofimo Lopez entered the mythical rankings at No. 6. Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) drops to No. 7.

Junior welterweight – Arnold Barboza Jr. (25-0, 10 KOs) advanced to No. 5 following a unanimous decision over unrated former title challenger Alex Saucedo.

Lightweight – Lopez is the new Ring Magazine champion. Lomachenko drops to No. 1.

 

And now for the panel’s pound-for-pound arguments (read it all if you’ve got half an hour to spare):

Panelist Anson Wainwright, as he usually does, got the discourse started with his opinion of the fight and the new ratings order.

“I think it was very close, but Lopez edged matters,” said Wainwright. “That sees the young guy crack the (pound for pound) top 10. Lots of debate (to come) I’m sure so I’ll kick things off with Lopez coming in right behind (No. 5 Errol) Spence, with Loma landing at No. 8. The revised look I have is:

  1. Canelo, 2. Inoue, 3. Crawford, 4. Usyk, 5. Spence, 6. Lopez, 7. GGG, 8. Loma, 9. Estrada, and 10. Beterbiev.

Associate Editor Tom Gray offered his opinion.

“I pretty much agree here although I’d have Loma above GGG. The funny thing is, I thought Lopez was a convincing winner at 116-112 but a six-point drop on this list seems excessive given everything Loma has done.

“To clarify: 1. Canelo, 2. Inoue, 3. Crawford, 4. Usyk, 5. Spence, 6. Lopez, 7. Loma, 8. GGG, 9. Estrada, and 10. Beterbiev.

“And listen, don’t fret, we can get Manny back in here when he beats McGregor 😂”

Panelist Martin Mulcahey was not in favor of ranking Lopez as high as Wainwright and Gray.

“I hate it when a boxer who has won one bout against a top 10 guy has to be put into any ranking over that boxer,” he said. “It could just be that he just has that guy’s number (like Barkley-Hearns, who do we

Mulcahey said he’d rather Kosei Tanaka, here celebrating after defeating former Ring champ Ryoichi Taguchi, enter Ring’s P4P rankings than Lopez. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

rate higher overall?), or that the guy that is beaten had one bad day. So, I take a look at Teofimo and say he does not have a better overall record than any of the current (pound for pound) top 10, except Beterbiev, who I do not think should be in top 10. If we put Teofimo in, I would say No. 9 and drop Loma to No. 10, although I think Loma should be rated higher. Otherwise we are punishing nine boxers to make room for one who happened to best an elite guy. Heck, I think Kosei Tanaka and Josh Taylor should be in before Teofimo but I can see other argument. Otherwise, if Usyk has bad night and loses to Chisora… does Chisora become pound for pound? The P4P rankings have other factors like longevity and consistency, which Teofimo does not yet possess. It is harsh to drop Loma so many notches, but that is my nuclear option here. My top 10:

“1. Crawford, 2. Canelo, 3. Inoue, 4. Usyk, 5. Spence, 6. Estrada, 7. GGG, 8. Teofimo, 9. Loma, and 10. Beterbiev.

“However, that is ONLY going by shuffling our current ratings to make room for Teofimo. If not bringing in Teofimo is option, I would put Loma at No. 6, drop Beterbiev out completely and bring in Josh Taylor or Tanka… in that order at No. 10.

Gray responded to Mulchaehy:

“There’s a decent point in here, Martin, but there’s one or two differences, backed up with examples.

“If Chisora, a middle of the road heavyweight at best, takes down Usyk it’s a massive upset that probably leads to Usyk’s dismissal as a P4P entrant but not Chisora’s inclusion. We did something similar, incorrectly in my view, when Sor Rungvisai beat Gonzalez for the second time.

“Lopez has looked all class from the get-go, and despite the fact that most of us picked Loma to win, Lopez was a BRILLIANT talent and was a titleholder coming in.”

Mulcahey replied:

“Good point, previous loses should play a role but remember when Nakatani made Teofimo look average as well. Is that forgotten and forgiven now? If an unknown prospect like Fedor Czerkaszyn (if elevated to mandatory) beats Canelo does he get the same benefit of doubt as Teofimo and rated top 5? I like the kid, it is better for boxing that Teofimo won and can see him getting in P4P top 10… just not as high as top 6.”

Gray’s retort:

Lopez vs. Nakatani

“I hear you, and I watched (the Nakatani) fight yesterday. It was an ordinary performance, but Lopez still only lost two of 12 rounds.

“Again, the prospect you mention hasn’t had the same career trajectory as Lopez, or a win over a Top 5-rated fighter in his division. You need to take into account the whole package here. The consensus was that Lopez was Loma’s biggest challenge at 135… And he was. He was established coming in.

“And we agree on the rating scenario in any case. I’ve voted Lopez to No. 6.”

Diego Morilla was not high on the fight, or either lightweights’ performance, especially Lomachenko’s, and he suggested dropping the 32-year-old southpaw from the top 10.

“As one of the few (if any) pundits who picked Lopez to win, I gotta say I am not even happy. If I had won an actual bet, I would have donated the earnings to charity minus the cost of a beer or two, to digest this unsavory dish.

“I’ll go straight to the point: I will not vote for any scenario in which BOTH of them get to stay in the P4P top ten after this thing. One of them has to go, and it ain’t Lopez. No way I am bringing in Lopez to kick out Pacquiao and leave him AND Josh Taylor out. I am sorry, but ‘everything that Loma has done’ (as expressed by Tom) now includes two loses against the very kind of fighters against which Loma is supposed to be super successful, and all in a career that has spanned a little over a dozen bouts. Keeping him in and kicking Pacquiao out is unthinkable. Let him earn his stripes back in the ring. Having said this, I am OK with Lopez entering anywhere between 7 and 9, with Loma out. The upside is still there, and I believe in the kid.

Panelist Adam Abramowitz agreed with Morilla’s suggestion to drop Lomachenko from the P4P.

Wainwright can’t fathom a P4P top 10 without Loma.

Wainwright and Gray did not.

“Not for me,” said Wainwright. “Lomachenko was our No. 2 P4P guy and lost a close fight to a very talented young gun. That in no way means he’s no longer top 10 P4P. Of course, he has to drop, maybe father time is catching up with him, but we didn’t drop GGG when he lost to Canelo. Frankly, I’d be embarrassed if we didn’t still have Lomachenko in the top 10.”

Added Gray:

“First up Diego, massive congratulations on the fight pick. I was MILES AWAY.

“In terms of the ratings, I don’t really get what you’re saying here. Loma’s first loss was to Orlando Salido in 2014, in his second professional fight. He’s since won world titles at three different weights and handily defeated Gary Russell Jr., Roman Martinez, Nicholas Walters, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Jorge Linares, Luke Campbell and Jose Pedraza, among others. He’s been Fighter of the Year and reigned as pound-for-pound No. 1.

“Lomachenko lost to a terrific young champion who’s as different from Salido as night and day. Lopez was the No. 1 rated lightweight according to this publication.

“Why is it unthinkable to remove Pacquaio from this list and keep Lomachenko in? Is there even a precedent where we have taken one of our top pound-for-pound entrants and threw him out of the Top 10 after one competitive points loss?”

Morilla had support from panelist Abramowitz, who was in favor of bringing Lopez into the top 5:

“I would have Lopez at No. 4 p4p. I would drop Loma out of the top 10.”

Michael Montero added his two cents:

“Great points, gentlemen. I tend to agree with Marty’s take when it comes to P4P. Factors like longevity and consistency must be taken into account, as well as time and place, weight, size, age, promotional advantages, etc.

“Last night a young junior welterweight edged an old featherweight. Outstanding performance by Lopez, showed Ring IQ and craft in there, but is that enough to put him anywhere near the top five P4P? It was Lomachenko making all of the true ‘pound for pound’ sacrifices in that match up.

“Like Tom said though, Lopez didn’t come out of nowhere. He’s been class from the jump; won a title in spectacular fashion last year. And let’s not forget he’s a former Olympian with 170 amateur bouts as well.

“My personal P4P:

  1. Bud
  2. Inoue
  3. Canelo
  4. Usyk
  5. Spence
  6. GGG
  7. Lopez
  8. Lomachenko
  9. Estrada
  10. Beterbiev”

Added Tris Dixon:

“I appreciate both sides, but I can’t see how Loma comes out completely after that. We keep saying one loss doesn’t make a bad fighter and here we’d be binning him on a defeat which is too steep a penalty, for me.

“I’d be inclined to agree with Tom’s 10.”

Morilla reiterated:

“Just to be clear: my point is not to keep Pac in the top 10 at all cost. I am up for any form of reshuffling that results in the harshest possible penalty for Loma, and not only because I don’t want him in the Top 10, but rather because HE doesn’t want to be there. One doesn’t just give up all those title belts and the money, the recognition, the negotiation leverage that comes with them, and still gets rewarded. He relinquished all that with those first six rounds that made Vaden-Norris look like f__king Hagler-Hearns. It was embarrassing to see one of boxing’s finest practitioners simply refusing to engage, at all. P4P has to be a mix between ‘career achievements’ and ‘last three or four fights,’ with the result and the general performance in the ring accounting for something.”

Added Adam:

“I wish I had written what Diego did. Sums up my feelings exactly. That was not a pound-for-pound effort or performance.”

Added Gray:

“You said: ‘Keeping [Lopez] in and kicking Pacquiao out is unthinkable.’

“Diego, in all fairness, this does sound like you wanted to keep Pacquiao in at all costs, right? I think it’s important to remember that Loma is the one in the ring. It’s conceivable that Lopez’s approach was not what he was expecting, maybe he felt the power, maybe the pressure and strength was an issue. None of us know. It’s okay to have the opinion that Lomachenko doesn’t want to be in the ring anymore, but it’s a bit of a sweeping statement off the back of his first loss in six years.”

Added Montero:

“Removing Lomachenko for a narrow points loss to arguably the best young fighter in the sport? I don’t know guys, that’s more than a tad hyperbolic in my opinion.

“Pac hasn’t fought in 16 months; Thurman had only fought once in 28 months prior to that. It was a fantastic win, but let’s not lose all perspective.

“By and large, the boxing community is WAAAAAAAAY too critical with how we view losses. This is something we could learn A LOT from the UFC people on.

“This wasn’t a replay of Fury-Wilder2, where one guy was completely dominated and stopped. Not all losses are created equal.

“In hindsight, Loma winning 4/5 rounds against Teo the way he did was pretty damn impressive. As I stated before, it was Loma making all the P4P concessions in that match up.

“If we keep Loma in and remove Pacquiao due to inactivity, I believe most fans would understand that move.”

Retorted Morilla:

Just to be clear, I used Pac’s name just because he is (was?) our No. 10, and therefore the first one to leave if we decided to keep Loma. I would have defended anyone else in No. 10.

I totally agree with Michael and his statement, especially in the boxing vs UFC bit. At 135, I obviously have no problem seeing Loma at No. 1, and he’s my instant favorite to win against any 135 fighter right now, even Lopez in a rematch. But P4P is about the aura, the ‘eye factor,’ the search for greatness and so much more, and Loma just showed he didn’t want it bad enough, even though he clearly had the tools to do it, easily (as shown in rounds 6 to 11). You can’t pretend to be a top P4P fighter when you fight like some kid who wants to outscore his opponent with as little effort as possible and then rush back home to show your medal to some Politburo official and try to get a f__king kitchen appliance as a reward. Or maybe a Yugo.

That’s it from me! Mic drop, Morilla out.”

The extended debate elicited the rare input from Managing Editor Brian Harty and panelist Daisuke Sugiura.

Said Harty:

“My opinion pre- and post-fight was that Thurman was a bit of a head case who for some time hadn’t been as threatening as a lot of people believed, I expected Pacquiao to beat him, and Pacquiao’s return to

Vasiliy Lomachenko thought he could take Teofimo Lopez Jr. into deep waters and failed. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

p4p was a bit on the nostalgic side. To me, Loma looked not just unwilling to engage Lopez but completely uninterested in doing so. For lack of a better word, he looked tired. Tired of what, I don’t know. And the game plan in his corner was incredibly weird; I guess he just expected to KO Lopez in the championship rounds after Lopez, upon seeing the Matrix unleashed, cracked mentally – which he didn’t. All that’s on Loma, though. Lopez is a terrific fighter and it seemed like facing Loma brought out even more focus in him. And he hits too hard for Loma to stand in front of him, so Loma was right to be cautious. There were moments later on where he turned it on and Lopez looked a little bewildered by the angles. There were also moments where Loma looked on the verge of getting floored. It should’ve been a better fight than it was, but Loma ruined it by waiting.

“None of this detracts from the fact that Lomachenko is the essence of a pound-for-pound fighter. I know Tom was in favor of Sor Rungvisai going higher after beating Gonzalez, but I wasn’t because I thought Sor Rungvisai’s success was disproportionately due to punching power. Lopez is similar to me in that his success is at a single weight where he’s really big – though I think Lopez is a better overall fighter. He’s the best lightweight. But p4p is just a different kind of list; it’s more subjective. It’s why I never liked having Klitschko so high, despite all the numbers on his record. I know this is just a different interpretation than more results-oriented approaches, but p4p is just fantasy to me – and in the fantasy realm, a Teofimo Lopez equalized by the kind of weight-climbing Loma has done probably gets picked apart like everyone else. Lopez deserves to be lightweight champion and he will go higher. Loma probably can’t. This is like all the people who write into the magazine complaining about how Crawford is above Spence on the p4p list but below him in the welterweight rankings. The meaning of ‘meaningful’ is different between weight divisions and fantasy lists, and to me, Pacquiao beating Thurman wasn’t as meaningful as it was to some people. Gonzalez only slipped from No. 1 to No. 3 (maybe 4) after the first loss to Sor Rungvisai, who I think was all the way down at No. 10? Can’t remember. Totally different circumstances and different administration, but still shows that the rules are sort of made up as they go. So, just my take, not mad at anyone who sees it differently, but I wouldn’t dump Loma unless he loses to another lightweight and it’s truly evident that ‘his time is over,’ as Lopez says.

Added Sugiura:

“Hello guys. A little late for this but I’m surprised to read the opinions that Lomachenko should be out of the top 10. It was a close fight. (I was) perplexed to see Loma was overly cautious but I just don’t think ‘he didn’t want to be there.’ He just faced a bigger, younger, stronger opponent, had to find a way to make an adjustment, still probably took four of last five rounds but came up short. (Hey, believe it or not, a lot of people, actually majority, in Japan thought Loma won the fight! I can’t agree with them at all but many of them are still furious). I kinda think it might even be an insult to Lopez’s win if we took Loma out of the list completely after their fight. Lopez won because he had a great game plan, executed it perfectly not because his opponent wasn’t a great fighter. Just my opinion.

“We haven’t seen Pacquiao in the ring for a while and I honestly don’t think he is one of top 10 fighters in the world anymore to begin with, Taylor and Fury are better, although I understand ‘career achievements’ is also important for this list.”

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s Periscope every Sunday.